Come to the Library for a Close Read

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Come to the Library for a Close Read

Posted: 01/27/2009
Looking for a book club? Join ours. Knox County Public Library has chosen Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows' bestselling novel The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society as its Close Read this February. Set in post WWII England, this inspiring and humorous novel tells the story of the German occupation of the channel island Guernsey, the only part of England to be occupied. The public is invited to read the book and then join in one of five discussions led by celebrity book lovers.

Every quarter, the Library will host a Close Read, featuring a book and discussion group at library locations across the county. The next Close Read will be Walter Dean Myers' Monster to coincide with his visit on April 18, 2009 at the Alex Haley Farm in Clinton, TN.


Thursday, February 19, 6 p.m. at West Knoxville Branch Library
100 Golf Club Road
led by Matt Shafer Powell, WUOT 91.9 FM

Saturday, February 21, 11 a.m. at Halls Branch Library
4518 E. Emory Road
led by Ginna Mashburn, Friends of the Library

Tuesday, February 24, 6 p.m. at Farragut Branch Library
417 N. Campbell Station Road
led by Julya Johnson, WBIR TV 10

Thursday, February 26, 5:30 p.m. at Lawson McGhee Library
500 W. Church Avenue
led by Jennifer Alexander, B97.5 FM

Saturday, February 28, 11 a.m. at Powell Branch Library
330 W. Emory Road
led by Ed Francisco, Pellissippi State

Discussion Leaders:

Jennifer Alexander is the midday host at B97.5. She has spent 15 years in the broadcasting industry and has hosted her own show at B97.5 for the past six. She brings her fun personality to her monthly on-air book club, often featuring local authors talking about their books with her. Her favorite reads include crime novels and fantasy books like Harry Potter.

Ed Francisco is a professor of English and writer-in-residence at Pellissippi State. He is the author of half a dozen books, including works of scholarship, poetry, and fiction. His collection Love, Death and Child and his novel The Dealmaker were both nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. He is also principal editor of The South in Perspective, an anthology of Southern literature from 1585 to the present. His most recent book is The Alchemy of Words, a book of poems. Francisco was also a poet-scholar for the Voices and Visions Poetry Series, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association.

Julya Johnson is the meteorologist at WBIR. Classifying herself as "one of the lucky few who is living my childhood dream," she studied at the University of Tennessee and Mississippi State University. When she's not studying the sky, she's running, jogging or, of course, reading a great book.

Ginna Mashburn is a former high school English teacher at Webb School. Since she retired in 2000, she has enjoyed volunteering with Friends of the Library, where she is Past President, and tutoring at Lonsdale School. She is a member of two book clubs.

Matt Shafer Powell is WUOT's News Director. He joined WUOT in November 2002 after heading up Michigan Radio's West Michigan Bureau. A self-described "sports geek," he also enjoys writing fiction, playing guitar and spending time with his wife and three children. Among his guilty pleasures, he lists hockey fights, white socks with sandals and the BeeGees' disco-era stuff.

About the book:

Currently at number eight, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society has been on the New York Times best sellers list for 18 weeks. Written entirely in letters, this novel is the story of Juliet Ashton who's tired of writing about the cheerful side of WWII life (replete with food rations and possible Nazi invasions). Then, Juliet receives a letter from farmer Dawsey Adams on the channel island of Guernsey. Dawsey and Juliet strike up a rich conversation, which soon spreads to inhabitants throughout the island. Readers will learn about the formation of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society while Guernsey was under German occupation, and the other memorable small acts of heroism of the island's inhabitants.

About the authors:

Mary Ann Shaffer was a lifelong book lover and worked as an editor, librarian and bookseller. This, her first novel, was accepted for publication when she was 73. She died earlier this year. Her niece, Annie Barrows, is the author of the children's series Ivy and Bean, as well as The Magic Half. She lives in northern California.

For more information on this program, please call 865-215-8767.